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Board of Registration in Nursing. Module 2: Standards for Conduct 244 CMR 9.00. Trust. The citizens of Massachusetts and the United States have a great deal of trust in nurses.

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  • The citizens of Massachusetts and the United States have a great deal of trust in nurses.
  • In Gallup’s annual survey on the honesty and ethical standards of various professions, nurses have received top marks as the most trusted profession in the US since 1999, rating #1 in 2004.


The Massachusetts Board

of Registration in Nursing

has determined that it is in

the best interest of the

public to ensure the

applicant meets the Good

Moral Character

requirement prior to authorizing

a Registered Nurse to practice

in the Advanced Role.


Legal Requirement

Massachusetts General Law chapter 112, sections 74, 74A, and 76 specifies all applicants for initial nursing licensure in Massachusetts must demonstrate compliance with the GoodMoral Character requirement.


Good Moral Character

Licensed nurses in Massachusetts who fulfill the Good Moral Character requirement are honest, trustworthy, accountable, reliable, have integrity, and are able to distinguish between right and wrong. They also avoid aggression to self and others, and avoid injustice and deceit.


Application Process

The Board of Registration in Nursing requires all applicants to answer six (6) questions related to criminal convictions and/or disciplinary actions by a licensure or certification body.

good moral character questions
Good Moral Character Questions
  • 1. Has any disciplinary action ever been taken against you by a professional and/or trade licensing/certification board located in the United States or any country/foreign jurisdiction, including removal from a long-term care nurse aide registry program?
  • 2. Are you the subject of pending disciplinary action by a professional and/or trade licensing/certification board located in the United States or any country/foreign jurisdiction?
  • 3. Have you ever applied for, and been denied, a professional and/or trade license/certification in the United States or any other country/foreign jurisdiction?
  • 4. Have you ever surrendered or resigned a professional and/or trade license/certificate in the United States or any other country/foreign jurisdiction?
  • 5. Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the United States or any other country/foreign jurisdiction?
  • 6. Are you the subject of any pending or open criminal case (s) or investigation (s), (including for any felony or misdemeanor) in a jurisdiction in the United States or any country/foreign jurisdiction?

Definition of Criminal Conviction

  • A verdict or finding of guilty.
  • A plea of guilty.
  • A plea of nolo contendere (no contest).
  • Any other plea treated by the court as a guilty plea regardless of the jurisdiction in which the conviction was entered.

Criminal Offender Record Information

The applicant may be required to complete a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) form, which is a criminal background check, based on the responses to the six (6) Good Moral Character questions on the licensure application.


All Criminal Cases and Disciplinary Actions Must be Closed

  • The applicant provides documentation satisfactory to the Board that:
    • all court-ordered requirements and that all criminal matters involving the applicant have been closed for at least one year; and
    • All requirements imposed by a licensure/certification body in connection with the disciplinary action involving the applicant have been met.

Truthfulness on the Application

  • It is extremely important to answer truthfully to all questions on the application for authorization and the CORI form.
  • Failure to be truthful may result in exclusion from practice for five (5) years.

Criminal Convictions

  • Conviction for certain crimes will result in mandatory permanent exclusion from becoming licensed as a nurse in Massachusetts.
  • In general, conduct underlying any violent crime against any person or persons that exhibits intentional or deliberate disregard of human life is considered grounds for exclusion from licensure.
  • In addition, if you have been convicted of a crime within the last 5 years (excluding those that result in permanent exclusion), you may be subject to mandatory temporary exclusion from licensure.

Nursing Board’s Website

A complete list of specific crimes requiring mandatory permanent exclusion from licensure is available at the Board of Registration website


Right to Review

  • If you are denied license based on the Good Moral Character requirement, you have the right to review of your denial.
  • You will be required to provide documentation which can reasonably substantiate the existence of specific areas of factual dispute relevant to the issue.

Legal vs. Professional

Legal Standards

  • The rules of conduct, behaviors and expectations regarding the practice of nursing

Professional Standards

  • Evidence based authoritative statements that describe a level of care or performance common to the profession of nursing by which the quality of nursing practice can be judged
244 cmr 9 00 standards of conduct http www mass gov eeohhs2 docs dph regs 244cmr009 pdf
244 CMR 9.00:Standards of Conduct


Defines the standards for all nurses licensed by the Board


30 words or statements that form the foundation of nursing regulations

244 cmr 9 03
244 CMR 9.03


Consists of 47 declarative statements regarding nursing practice and the expectation of how the nurse will implement SAFE & EFFECTIVE CARE

Review entire regulation!

244 cmr 9 031
244 CMR 9.03

Example of the standards related to daily practice include (but are not limited to):

  • (9) Responsibility & Accountability
  • (11) Performance of Techniques & Procedures
  • (14) Asepsis & Infection Control
244 cmr 9 03 continued
244 CMR 9.03 - continued
  • (18) Participation in Research
  • (24) Professional Boundaries
  • (35) Security of Controlled Substances
  • (38) Administration of Drugs
  • (39) Documentation of CS
  • (36) Practice While Impaired
  • (44) Documentation
244 cmr 9 03 continued1
244 CMR 9.03 - continued

Special Consideration

  • (15) Patient Abuse, Neglect, Mistreatment, Abandonment, or Other Harm
  • (26) Duty to Report
244 cmr 9 04 specific to aprn
244 CMR 9.04 – Specific to APRN
  • (1) Practice with competence only in authorized APRN category (CNP, PCNS, CRNA, CNM, CNS)
  • (2) Do not practice without Board authorization
  • (3) Authorized prescribers comply with additional federal and state laws and regulations
  • (4) Maintain current certification
  • (5) Fully disclose risks/benefits of treatment with documentation
  • (6) Provide access to information regarding charges and payment for services
244 cmr 7 00 http www mass gov eeohhs2 docs dph regs 244cmr007 pdf
244 CMR 7.00

Action on Complaints

Non-Disciplinary – not public record

  • Dismissal
  • Stayed Probation
  • Stayed Suspension
  • Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP)
244 cmr 7 00 continued
244 CMR 7.00 - continued

Disciplinary – Remains as public record

  • Reprimand
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Surrender
  • Revocation

Review 4.00, 7.00 and 9.00

  • Go to the Board’s website to review:
    • 244 CMR 4.00: Massachusetts Regulations Governing Advanced Practice Registered Nursing
    • 244 CMR 7.00: Action on Complaints
    • 244 CMR 9.00: Standards of Conduct

Get into the habit of Checking the Board’s Website

  • News and Updates
  • Practice Issues
  • Alerts
  • Regulatory Guidance
  • Advisory Rulings
  • Newsletters

Board of Registration in Nursing239 Causeway Street2nd Floor, Suite 200Boston, MA 02114

On-Line Renewal

(go to On Line Services in right margin)